I've been a customer of Benetton for years. The staff at both local stores in the King of Prussia mall and in Philadelphia knew me by name. Benetton had me on its mailing list for special promotions and customer sales. Their inventory was quite different in the US from that of Italy - more suits and business here and more casual wear there.
One of the gifts I received at Christmas time was a Benetton card. Since I was shopping in Italy during the holidays, I held on to the card until Spring. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I learned that both stores in the Philadelphia area had been closed without warning.
Benetton does not sell through its Web site, only in stores, so I will need to find a store somewhere that takes my gift card. Knowing the limits I have on my time when I travel, as well as the carry on limitations, that is shaping to be a challenge. Plus I will need to remember to locate the store ahead of time. The company has an extensive Web site for press inquiries in the USA, complete with information on its many sites, including Fabrica, its research center. I can look up the spring collection, yet I cannot buy it locally.
Benetton had my mailing address, they used it to send me promotional cards, special discount offers and once even a hand written thank you card after I purchased three suits. I am puzzled as to why the company chose not to send a communication about the stores closing. What a missed opportunity! If you have loyal customers, treat them well even when you're leaving. Your brand conversation still depends on the experiences you provide customers. And the stories they will share are much more powerful than any of the advertising you may buy - even the controversial imagery [includes some graphic images].
Until this past month, a Benetton store had been my best retail store experience. That is because the Apple store is so crowded that I need to shout to have a conversation in there. Do you have a favorite retail store experience? Do tell...